Today i took day journey outside of Sofia and headed to the second most important city Plovdiv and little rural town Koprivshtitsa to learn more about Bulgaria, it’s history and enjoy some architecture. From the first hours in Sofia i hear almost everywhere, that i need to see Plovdiv. Looks like Bulgarians are really proud of it, so i decided to see what is what.
Early in the morning we headed to Plovdiv, which is said to be the cultural capital of Bulgaria. It took us around 2 hours to reach it from Sofia. We went along beautiful sunflowers fields and scenic hills. They were so green and beautiful, that i literally want to drink them! On our way i learned some cool stuff about Bulgaria: the country produce 70% of rose oil, got it special yougurt bacteria and Bulgarians shake their heads to mean yes and nod for no. Good to know!
After arriving we started to explore Plovdiv main sights. From the first minute i was blown away: Plovdiv got extremely beautiful and interteresting architecture! From Art Nouveau buildings to traditional bulgarian arcghitecture. I got no idea that Bulgaria could have such a beautiful buidings! And it’s absolutely amazing how many styles are mixed in Plovdiv! I literally fall in love with all the details of traditional bulgarian houses! All this wood, beautiful paintigs around it and colours were absolutely georgeous! It’s absolutely incredible! Now i understand why everyone tells me to visit Plovdiv!
Plovdiv is choosen as cultural capital of Europe in 2019 and promoted as city of gossips and rumours. Probably, because of it’s size, in 19th century everyone knows everything about others. In the area of old town there is even a small window, which is said to be the place to listen and to look for others. Nowadays we have Faceboook (who watch us :-)), but at that time they had this little windows to learn something interesting about the others! And they even have a small monument of Gossip man, which looks like middle aged man with very big ears! Fun!
Apart from present day architecture, Plovdiv got lots of Roman sights. Centuries ago it was Roman city with lots of incredible structures. Present day city is build upon it. The biggest landmark, gigantic Sport Arena, is still partly hidden under layers of history. Some times back it occupied the territory of the present day main street. Now it’s possible to see only some parts of it, others are hidden under the present day buidings and waiting for technologies to show them to the world. The trouble is that city don’t want to destroy present day building, which are also very interesting and currently works for economy of the city. Apart from Sport Arena, there are some reamains and well preserved amphitheater, which now serves as open air theater.
The most picturesque part of Plovdiv is it’s Old town, which is located on one of the hills. It was build in 19th century and is filled with beautiful well restored traditional buildings, several churches and generally got very nice mood. It is still a place, where people live and it doesn’t feel very touristy, though there are relatively many visitors here. I loved old pharmacy buiding, very beautiful flea shop, but my absolute favourites were the Red building of Historical museum and Blue building with golden monograms, which is present day Ethnographic museum. This is definetely unique and incredibly beautiful pieces of architecture and it’s so interesting that i never saw any picture of it before.
My second stop for today was little hidden village of Koprivshtitsa. I would never made it here if it wasn’t included in my tour, so i had an opportunity to check what’s cool here as i never heard about it before.
Koprivshtitsa is little peaceful place and now it works more like open-air museum, showing some beautiful Bulgarian architecture. During summer it is frequinted by visitors and loved by backpackers, because staying here is very cheap (something kind of 25 euro per night includiing all the meals). The rest of the year it is almost empty with very little people around. For the most of the country Koprivshtitsa is very important place. At the end of 19th century it was the centre of revolution against Ottomans. That attempt to fight for freedom wasn’t very successful and lasted only few days, but it marks the start of the process of liberation.
This village is very small and 1 hour was perfectly enough to see all the main sights and some beautiful buildings. The most interesting part was visiting old traditional house. It is not official museum, but the owners can let you visit for a small donation. They made a small exhibition inside and showed some traditional way of life, which was very interesting and educational.
So Plovdiv was very cool city to browse around and i can only confirm, that visiting Plovdiv is definetely worth it! Something to put in your list of must-see as the city is easy to reach from Sofia. I wouldn’t call Koprivshtitsa obligatory place to visit in Bulgaria, but it was nice to see it and learn more about Bulgarian history on site.
Getting around Bulgaria is possible by yourself if you hire a car or by public bus. But in this case you have to deal with the hussle. So day journey was a great option for me as i don’t have to worry much about planning, shedules or public busses. To make this kind of journey i took a day tour with Traventuria. Good enough is that price of that tour isn’t significally more than doing everything on my own, so that’s definetely an option to consider!